1st class salad

Cool Sporty Embroideries

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Lately, the possible connections that could be traced between fashion and art became the subject of quite interesting discussions. Whether fashion could be linked to the world of arts or whether art could play a fashion role – these questions remain opened for further explorations. On the other hand, we have to admit that we are dealing with two different things that don’t need to be forced to work together. At least not literally, like we saw in Viktor & Rolf demonstration for their last couture show.

In my opinion, the topic deserves a lighter treatment. That is why I picked James Merry’s work for example. His cute embroideries on vintage sweaters and his very personal way to adorn all those iconic sportswear logos with flowers, moss or mushrooms, seems to be a more adequate formula – smart, sincere, clean, honest… and wearable after all! The concept definitely deserves to be developed further while it could be extended at various levels.

James Merry, a very particular artist who spends his life between New York and Iceland, is already known as the creator of exquisite embroidered masks for Bjork’s stage shows or videos. James Merry is also a former collaborator of Damien Hirst and the author of an illustration book. His recent sportswear logo project (see the pictures) shows that he still has plenty to say, whether it would be in the field of art, fashion or something in between.

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Now, when there’s no Margiela around (in terms of really experimental, subversive, avant garde fashion) hopefully we have Vetements

Vetements is a young Paris based fashion label run by an international collective of seven designers trained at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Die Angewandte in Vienna and Studio Berçot in Paris. Their Fall 2015 collection was recently showed at Paris Fashion Week. The show, held in the basement of Paris’ famous gay club Le Depot displayed oversized jackets, asymmetric dresses, sporty harnesses and skin-tight snakeskin platforms. With a casting of real people everything looked bold, subtle, odd and really creative in terms of  product design.

In French, “Vetements” literally means “clothes” – it’s simple. The design approach goes into the same spirit: it’s about producing beautiful clothes that are made to be worn. However, there’s a particular energy embedded in these deceptively simple outfits. Of course, the styling adds a particular flavour to the overall look, but even so we can feel there was a great concern in the making of the garment. Working on a piece of clothing, exploring its hidden details, subtly reconfiguring shapes and lines, taking risks – these preoccupations are extremely rare these days.

Vetements’ fashion esthetic, the way they play with proportions and volumes, the mix of raw with sophisticated details may seem margielesque, like their choice to remain invisible as creative individuals. Anyhow, there’s a new breath and many possibilities that can start from here, while being anonymous is an act of courage today more than ever. Focusing on well-done basic pieces above anything else, Vetements it’s not just a label but a genuine project by itself.

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Vetements Fall 2015, catwalk images via style.com


HBA Takes It to the Next Level

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Hood by Air Fall 2015/ backstage photos by Helga Taxler


I have already wrote about Hood by Air as one of the most promising young brands of Ready To Wear. Now that HBA showed their latest work at NYFW, I’m even more excited. It seams that HBA’s creative Shayne Oliver succeeded to take it to the next level. The brand grows up every season, and it grows nice! For Fall 2015 season, anyone can note a well-grounded approach to androgynous streetwear which is already a HBA signature feature. While some pieces look really avangarde, the clothes are still wearable and highly desirable, paired with a perfect styling. Take the large pleated trousers, the deconstructed fur coats or the cut-out pieces – everything in this collection looks absolutely amazing. Of course, a fashion nostalgic would say that some outfits recall former Margiela or Kawakubo styles. But that era is dead and Shayne Oliver knows well how to use all references and put them into a winning formula. At the end of the day, Hood by Air is a genuine streetwear label. It is about what real people would really enjoy to wear.  The shoes are stunning again, especially the way they melt with the pants. The casting is essential in each Hood by Air show – this time again it gives a particular flavour to the clothes. With the aid of Amy Farid (hairstyling) and Inge Grognard (makeup), the beauty was impeccably solved too.

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catwalk images via style.com

Watch the HBA fashion show video for Fall 2015 below:

Visible/ Invisible Interplay


Giovanni AnselmoInvisible, 1971, video projections. Using a slide projector, the word is legible only at a certain point when intersecting  the presence of the viewer. Thus the invisible becomes visible.


Maison Martin Margiela and their signature ‘invisible’ tag. The blank tag is attached to the garment using 4 white stitches visible from the outside.

Relevant fashion label – HOOD BY AIR

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What is Hood by Air?

Hood By Air is a New York based streetwear label created by Shayne Oliver and Raul Lopez in 2006. Inspired by hip-hop culture the line features edgy garments and graphic tees printed in bold colors, usually bearing the signature HBA logo. Started as menswear with a collection based on sweatshirts and T-shirts, Hood by Air gradually evolved to more complex constructions. The outfits tend to be rather unisex.

Key words: T-shirts, sweatshirts, logo, prints, Centaur bootsbolddenim, leather, genderlesspowerwear.

While the classic HBA tees play a lot with graphics and logos (such as Paramount-inspired logo), more recent collections introduce daring cutouts, bold accessories, lace-up details and sophisticated layering. After Oliver Shayne was awarded with the LVMH Young Fashion Designers special prize there was a significant shift in label’s evolution, which obviously became more luxurious.

Hood By Air items can be purchased online  (check VFiles), as well as from famous boutiques like Opening Ceremony and Colette.

Why is it so relevant?

Firstly, because it is an example of American design at its best! Hood by Air delivers extremely clean and wearable clothes, re-imagining Americana style and giving it a fresh allure. The collaboration with Italian footwear brand Forfex resulted in a line of amazing boots, another great addition to the HBA overall look. Although the clothes per se are neither artsy nor emotional, they have instead an experimental component and an evident sexual charge.

Then, because it succeeds to be avant-garde being in the same time ’normal’. Actually, Hood by Air is a smart hybrid between streetwear and high-end fashion, better said an avant-garde streetstyle. In the context of boredom and indifference which dominates fashion lately (see normcore), HBA delivers something new.

Finally, HBA already means much more than clothing. Exploring notions as body, identity, gender, Hood by Air aims to grow its influence as international lifestyle brand. Indeed, working across different creative mediums, they succeeded to build an entire world around these garments. And that’s precisely what makes the difference between ’another label’ and  a powerful force in contemporary culture.


A prominent event in their work it’s the recent ‘HBA trilogy’ conceived for the  S/S 2015 collection. Having the exploration of the male self – id, superego, ego – as the main theme, the collection has been exposed in three parts:

Part 1 (EGO), presented at NYFW introduced some cool kids wearing signature cut out pieces and amazing plexi choker necklaces; Part 2, (SUPEREGO), which took place in  an abandoned office space in Paris focused mainly on  ”refashioned versions of men’s tailoring, meant for a world where the codes transmitted by a traditional suit no longer exist“(Maya Singer); Part 3 (ID), back in New York at MoMA did not present a new collection, but a party performance and multimedia installation. Bringing together costumes and elements of the previous two collections, with the participation of artists as Mykki Blanco, Boychild, Venus X, Fatima Al Qadiri, Leilah Weinraub, SSION, Total Freedom, HBA’s PopRally event at MoMa delivered an unified view on brand philosophy.


Hood By Air – SS 2015, Part 1, NYFW / images via style.com


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Hood By Air, SS 2015 – Part 2, Paris Fashion Week/ photo via mtv.com


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Hood By Air – SS 2015, Part 3, MoMa , New York/ photo via i-d.vice.com



Sugar Monsters

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From spooky characters in literature and cinema, extravagant pop icons, fashion victims and deviant consumers, there are plenty of monsters around. The role of the artist is to observe and comment, to put everything into a coherent framework. To surprise us, entertain us, challenge us, cure us.

James Ostrer‘s photographic series Wotsit all About depicts monstrous creatures made out of sugar, sweets and foodstuffs, assembled in a way that recalls primitive art. Referring to contemporary addictions and our culture’s dietary concerns, the artist mocks his own weaknesses and guilty pleasures.

I wanted to redefine the human species in modern tribes based on what they eat.”

Ostrer studied at the Royal College of Art, before becoming a set designer at the English National Ballet. The artist lives and works in London. His work talks about the body politics in the ever evolving analysis of the western body, sexuality, and society, functioning in the same time as “self-help therapy”.

The photographs from Wotsit all About series have been exposed at Gazelli Art House, London.

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HUNTERS by Ioana Ciolacu

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The “Designer for Tomorrow” fashion talent award has been presented as part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin since 2009. As an initiative of Peek & Cloppenburg Düsseldorf and its online shop Fashion ID, the award provides a visible platform for creativity. It offers top up-and-coming fashion talent the opportunity to be discovered and to receive a great deal of attention from the fashion industry and the public.

In July 2013, Ioana Ciolacu won the fashion talent award and since then she`s been on a sponsorship program, during which she went on a voyage of inspiration to Paris, visited Stella McCartney’s design studios and went to choose fabrics in Hamburg – and much more besides. As the highlight of the program, the Romanian designer is now presenting the new S/S 2015 collection, her first solo fashion show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin (read more here).

Ioana Ciolacu ‘Hunters’ collection consists of 25 feminine outfits. Inspired by the relationship between hunter and prey, the designer knew how to develop a clean and smart collection, perfectly suited for contemporary lifestyle. Starting with the quality of the fabrics, the modernity of shapes and silhouettes introduced, continuing with the accuracy of finishings and the refined solutions found from necklines to hems, everything was impeccably conducted to get a coherent ensemble which is also highly commercially appealing.

The ‘Hunters’ theme served as a nice pretext to develop digital prints inspired by plumage of birds, along with structured and laser cut details designed to highlight the silhouettes. Elegant, sporty, urban with a luxurious touch, the collection is well balanced and flawless – a tremendous achievement for a young designer, paving her way to the challenging world of high fashion.

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To get a full picture of Ioana Ciolacu’s collection, check the show video from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin - ’Designer for tommorow’.